PROGRESS Chapter 69: Be Here Now
By Big Red Machine
From May 20, 2018
THUNDERBASTARD TAG TEAM SERIES MATCH:
Aussie Open vs. M & M (Connor Mills & Maverick Mayhew) - 5.25/10
The tag champs, James Drake & Zack Gibson, sat in on commentary during this match. They were insulted that they weren't booked on this big show... and they've got a point. They are the tag team champions after all. They were also right when they said this match was mostly just moves. That doesn't mean it wasn't entertaining, though.
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. MARK ANDREWS - 8/10
A wonderful PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING encounter.
DAVID STARR vs. WALTER - 8.5/10
The announcers built up the fact that Starr is 0-9 in his career in singles matches against WALTER. Starr worked on WALTER's leg all match and they did a lot of wonderful little things with that. Starr basically dominated most of the match, to the point where it finally seemed like tonight was going to be his night but WALTER managed to catch him in a small package for the pin. WALTER's selling of his knee and Starr's selling of his loss were tremendous. From Starr's facial expression at the end of this match, you'd have thought that he just lost the world title.
TRENT SEVEN PROMO - British Strong Style come out, mess with the referee like jerks, then Seven says he isn't cleared to compete tonight. He does assure us that he'll be ready to go for next month's six-man tag against Undisputed Era. Seven says that the other two are willing to wrestle their match tonight at a three-on-two disadvantage, so we got a...
British Strong Style (Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate) vs. Jimmy Havoc, "Flash" Morgan Webster, & Mark Haskins (w/Vicky Haskins) - 4.5/10
This was basically your standard PWG-style chaotic six-man tag... which is a problem because this was a handicap match. It never once felt like British Strong Style had were in any sort of real, prolonged trouble due to the numbers disadvantage, as it was usually Vicky's distractions that led to them being cut off. Throw in the Vicky/Webster not wanting to cheat-centric finish, and it feels like they had a six-man tag planned and when they found up Seven couldn't wrestle they just cut all of his spots out of the match rather than come up with a new match that fit the new situation.
On the finish in particular I understand that they might have needed this exact sort of finish to happen on this show, but if that's the case then I would have turned this into a tag team match and had Havoc or Haskins either wrestle a singles match earlier on the show or not wrestle at all, so as not to do a gimmick match and then totally ignore the gimmick by having the heels win with a different form of numbers game advantage.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Christian Michael Jakobi has come here to that he can be face to face with Pete Dunne... and he's brought Ilja Dragunov with him! They have a stare-down while CMJ heels on the crowd, telling them that the match they want to see won't take place "in this sh*thole" but rather on the big show at Wembley!
PROGRESS WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Travis Banks(c) (w/T.K. Cooper) vs. Jack Sexsmith - 4.5/10
We start off with immediate interference from Cooper that should have been a DQ but wasn't, pulling the referee out of the ring when he was about to make a count. Sexsmith then Cooper with one move, and he was out for the rest of the match. They stayed on the outside FOREVER with no count-out. During this they did a spot where Banks sat Sexsmith in a chair in the front row and threw a chop at him but Sexsmith ducked it... and the woman seated in the chair right behind Sexsmith did not react in any way. Either to the spot, or to the fact that Travis Banks' arm came unexpectedly flying right at her.
Banks eventually cut Sexsmith off and just beat the sh*t out of him for a long time. He finally got frustrated he couldn't put Sexsmith away so he tried to walk out of the match but WALTER stopped him... and I guess the only door to the building is located through the locker room or something because with this one exit blocked, Banks felt he had no choice but to return to the match. They then launched into what felt like ten minutes nearfalls, most of which were Sexsmith kicking out of Banks' finisher even though WALTER's very presence made it clear that the belt was not changing hands tonight. The more I watch of Banks, the more of a Davey Richards vibe I get from his matches, which in this case was a bad thing, as it felt full of needless kick-outs. They had their story and told it mostly competently, but I didn't find the match exciting in any way.
FOUR-WAY MATCH FOR THE VACANT PROGRESS ATLAS TITLE:
Doug Williams vs. Rob Lynch vs. Joseph Connors vs. Rampage Brown - 5.5/10
They had a decent multi-man match that gave us a satisfying payoff with Doug Williams, the ultimate legend of British independent wrestling, winning the title.
PROGRESS WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Toni Storm(c) vs. Jinny (w/the House of Couture) - 8/10
Yet another match where they spent WAY too much time on the outside without getting counted out. My advice to a promotion that doesn't want to have count-outs in title matched would be to adopt the original ROH rules for title matches where there are no count-outs, but the ref can DQ you if things are getting out of control on the outside (at his/her discretion). Other than that one problem, this match was everything it needed to be. There was lots of cheating from the heels, and Toni Storm got to show us all once again why she is the best female babyface in the world. Jinny and her goons just kept cheating and cheating and piling it on more and more and more until f*cked Toni out of her title and that evil, despicable woman is now our PROGRESS Women's Champion. This match left me completely pissed off in all the right ways. F*CK YOU, JINNY! BURN IN HELL!
Another great show from PROGRESS, despite some of the big title matches not really delivering (although I can see others liking the world title match a lot more than I did), but they advanced their storylines, gave us some awesome wrestling, and a major moment in the main event, so this show is definitely a big thumbs up.